Best Suburban Bar 2023 | The Bend Liquor Lounge | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Courtesy of the Bend Liquor Lounge

Inconspicuously nestled inside a North Dade shopping plaza, the Bend Liquor Lounge has all the makings of a great neighborhood haunt: a great happy hour, Star Wars memorabilia, and, of course, weekly karaoke. Cozy up to the lounge's massive bar and indulge in one of the Bend's signature cocktails. That's right: signature cocktails at a neighborhood bar. A suburban neighborhood bar.

Freddy's photo

Freddy's isn't your average hotel bar — it's a bona fide speakeasy nestled away in the InterContinental Miami. Accessible by reservation only, this secret hideaway offers guests the rare opportunity to step back in time to the Prohibition Era and immerse themselves in the intimate atmosphere of a hidden cocktail club. It's named after the famed 19th-century Polish composer and virtuoso pianist Frédéric François Chopin, whose name graces both the street the hotel is located on and one of its ballrooms. True to speakeasy form, this tiny lounge accommodates just a dozen guests at a time who are escorted to the hidden location in a seemingly abandoned wing of the resort where a secret knock guarantees admission beyond a paneled door for a two-hour journey into 1920s cocktail culture. Amid the historic ambiance of vintage furnishings, plush seating, and a candlelit bar, a team of dedicated mixologists meticulously craft a short and sweet menu of house libations, offering plenty of theatrical entertainment by way of lore along the way. The "Four Ballads" welcome toast is a refreshing entry, made with a blend of Casa Noble tequila infused with cilantro, Cointreau, lime, and simple syrup. From there, guests are invited to choose from a concise list of signature cocktails, including the exclusive housemade Maker's Mark cask cocktail, a potent libation infused with Italian liquor and Heering cherry liqueur before being barrel-aged for six weeks.

Sipsip Calypso Rum Bar photo

Playing tourist in Miami is almost as fun as playing hooky. Sipsip, a rum bar on the rooftop of Coconut Grove's newly renovated Mayfair House Hotel & Garden, has created the kind of paradisiacal vibe that locals often remember to experience only when hosting out-of-town guests. With views of and breezes from Biscayne Bay, almost any drink would do, but Sipsip's cocktails are well-balanced and served up by friendly bar staff. The menu offers Caribbean-inspired concoctions like a "Goombay Smash" ($16) as well as tiki-style drinks like a "Zombie" ($16), with a handful of frozen options. It also thoughtfully includes appealing non-alcoholic beverages, like the Switcha lemonade ($6) or the "Goombay Punch" ($6).

Grove Bay Hospitality Group photo

It's not just because this site has a ton of history under its barstools, including serving as the base for Pan American World Airway's flying boats (AKA Clipper planes). It's not just because the décor brings to bear that golden age of burgeoning global travel. It's not just because you can watch boats being brought from dry storage to the water and vice versa, a fascinating process that goes on all day. It's not even because of the terrific sunsets you can view over the bay with a drink in hand. Of course, all of these things together make Bayshore Club our favorite place to toast each other while the salty breezes coat the rims of our cocktail glasses with the scents of old and new Miami.

RM Studio Corp. photo

Some people think a good wine bar is one where there's a great selection of vino. That's Vinya. But we also appreciate wine bars encouraging their clientele to try new pours via tastings, workshops, seminars, food pairings, and festivals. That's Vinya, too. Get started by ordering a sommelier-recommended glass of bubbly, white, rose, or red — or by grabbing any bottle from their vast retail selection, which they'll open and serve for a $20 corkage fee. Then order from chef Mariano Araya's terrific menu to complete the experience.

Photo by Alex Markow

Don't let Florida legislators fool you; drag night host Karla Croqueta continues to "say gay" at the weekly Thursday drag night at Gramps bar in Wynwood. Though Gramps' orange exterior prominently advertises air conditioning, cold beer, and cocktails, the space has been a consistent haven for the queer community since its opening more than a decade ago. Gramps doesn't need the "gay bar" label — its queerness is in its ethos as a truly accepting place (so long as patrons are wearing shirts and shoes of some kind). This February, the drag arts and music festival Wigwood returned to Gramps after a two-year hiatus with former RuPaul Drag Race contestant Tammie Brown as host and many of the city's best drag performers fiercely taking the raised catwalk.

Photo by Chelsea Olson

There are enough $20 cocktails in Miami Beach. Ted's Hideaway is the refreshing foil to South of Fifth's glitz. It's perfect when you're tired of the mandatory dress codes and just want a damn beer to sip while watching the Marlins lose again. Other spots along Ocean Drive might charge as much as $15 for a domestic brew, but Ted's Hideaway has a killer daily happy hour, where domestics run $4.75 and imports are $6. There's grub, too, including taquitos ($9) and a homemade thin-crust pizza ($11).

American Social

Between its scenic waterfront setting, extensive menu, and immaculate bathrooms, it almost seems unfair to categorize American Social in Brickell as a regular ol' sports bar. That's not to say the spot is too stuffy or pretentious to hang out and let loose. The game-day watch parties here rival parking lot tailgates, and the atmosphere during the World Cup is incomparable. The doughnut holes and deviled eggs make American Social the second-best option to attending the game itself.

Photo courtesy of the Anderson

How many people have gone to Taco Bell after a night out with friends? There's a natural symmetry between tacos and tequila — and beer, wine, and vodka (you get the point). While there's absolutely nothing wrong with a midnight run to a fast-food chain after some cocktails, the Anderson, a Miami lounge that's been around for decades in one form or another, now has a built-in taco shop. El Toro Tacos offers a range of tacos from mushroom to pork belly priced for a taco shop and not a schmancy cocktail lounge. There's also fresh guac, chilaquiles, queso fundido, and a gringo menu with burgers, steak frites, and fish sandwiches. And, of course, the Anderson has an amazing cocktail program, so you can pair that juicy birria taco with its best friend, a freshly shaken margarita.

Photo by Donna Irene

Margot Natural Wine Bar is a sanctuary from the towering scaffolding and never-ending downtown construction. Inside the old Ingraham building, this quaint little spot offers an "Aperitivo Hour" in lieu of a happy hour, featuring $8 wines and $5 beers from 5 to 7 p.m. every day. It's the brainchild of the folks behind Bar Lab (The Broken Shaker, 27 Restaurant) and the perfect place to pop in on a weekday evening for light bites, great cocktails, and, of course, glasses of globally sourced, natural wine.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®